Given a choice most people would rather have governments off their back since government decisions tend to be arbitrary and immune to reviews by those affected, particularly in the Third World. Take for example the disenfranchising of the Haitian electorate in the general elections in 2006 and the senatorial vote in 2009 in which all Lavalas-connected candidates were barred from participating. Aren’t these decisions, made on behalf of free market capitalism espoused by the Haitian elite, the IMF and World Bank, reminiscent of those in communist-ruled countries?
In affluent countries, the appropriate role of the state is a perennially contentious subject, which explains the polarization of the U.S over healthcare reform. In sum, the acrimonious debate is a replay of the great ideological struggle of the 20th century between free market capitalism vs. utilitarianism (the morality of an action that is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility) in which the former emerged as the apparent winner. As such, the victory forms the basis of globalization that is creating havoc in the underdeveloped world where the concept of utilitarianism is automatically equated with communism or worse.
Indeed one aspect of utilitarianism is communism which, despite its egalitarian philosophy, is the worst system ever devised by men since its implementation relies on coercion. As such it violates a person’s unalienable right to be free of oppression of any kind. On the other hand, can a state serve only the purpose of one constituent group and stay indifferent to the needs of the others without endangering its existence and the welfare of all? Unfortunately for many in the Third World where economic and social inequalities are prevalent, it is ironically free market capitalism that constitutes a peril to civil liberties usually associated with communist dictatorships.
Nowhere this reality more evident than Haiti, where the basic human rights of the population are being violated by a state acting as enforcer of the privileges of the economic elite and suppressing the aspirations of the majority. Political and economic participation is limited to a chosen few and anyone daring to question the arrangement is ostracized, exiled, or conveniently disappeared. To make matters worse, the enterprise is wholly supported, if not engineered, by the international community under the fallacious pretext of promoting stability in an eternally unstable country.
This heavy-handed process negates the notion that democracy, the Trojan horse of neo-liberalism, is the solution to Haiti’s woes. Any political order imposed by coercion inevitably succumbs to a final and unforgiving judgment of the people. History is littered with the carcasses of those seemingly indestructible methods of governing: divine or absolute rule, feudalism and communism, to name a few. Thus, the smart money should not bet on democracy and neo-liberalism in Haiti, the twin evils that are being promoted as the answers to perennial instability and enduring poverty. The experiment is doomed to fail since it is built on the false premise of Haiti being “a threat to international peace and security.”
The unwarranted killings, rapes, beatings and collective punishments of the population by the MINUSTAH, all within the context of establishing stability in Haiti under the UN Security Council mandates, violate articles 32 and 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 pertaining to the protection of civilians in occupied-territories. These crimes also invalidate the pervasive notion that persecutions and summary executions of opponents of a political order are essentially the domain of totalitarian states.
Last week, Adolf Storms, a 90-year old former SS sergeant, was charged with 58 counts of murder for his alleged participation in the massacre of forced Jewish laborers on March 29, 1945. The indictment, 64 years after fact, is an indication that politically-motivated murders are unacceptable in a civilized world, thus cannot remain unpunished. Yet, the zealots who are committing unspeakable crimes in Haiti on behalf of the current political order remain oblivious to that reality. Human rights are fundamental; thus cannot be rationed or denied to anyone whether in China, Cuba, Haiti, Iran or Myanmar. These collaborators/butchers would find themselves on the other side of the fence, because no entity should entrust itself with the power to use oppression as a tool for conformity.
Would the Lavalas party be allowed to participate in the 2010 general elections when the people are called upon to ratify the 6 years of imposed neo-liberalism and illusionary democracy? Up to now, the odds are against it since the deprogramming of Lavalas’ rank and file is not yet complete. Why then the self-righteous architects of the experiment in Haiti so preoccupied with excluding a portion of the electorate, when unfettered participation in the process would confer legitimacy to it? Only its architects and executers could explain this bizarre policy; any attempts at figuring it out would be a futile academic exercise.
Many Haitians are self-deluding themselves with wishful thinking by agreeing with the assertion that Haiti needs supervision and the occupation as the country’s best last chance at overcoming its difficulties. Since the righteousness of any idea does not necessarily make it mandatory or acceptable to all, the use of force and intimidation not only exposes the hollowness of the claim but also the naïveté of the collaborators. As the infamy of February 29, 2004 and subsequent crimes against the Haitian people cannot be forgotten, the judgment of history would be unforgiving.